A Monmouth County man has admitted to torturing and killing his pet cat last year and now potentially faces several years behind bars.

Editor's note: We caution you that some of the details of this case may be disturbing.

Bani J. Mezquititla of Asbury Park, NJ, Pleads Guilty

Prosecutors say on Monday, 19-year-old Bani J. Mezquititla of Asbury Park pleaded guilty to two different third-degree animal cruelty charges.

An investigation into Mezquititla's activities began in March of 2023 after a concerned citizen brought the body of a dead cat to Asbury Park Police Department headquarters.

That department, along with the Monmouth County SPCA, determined that the cat had belonged to Mezquititla, "who allegedly first performed sexual acts on the animal, seriously injuring it."

He is also alleged to have later restrained and tortured the cat, resulting in its death.

Mezquititla was located and arrested on the same day that the cat was brought to the police. He has remained incarcerated as the case progressed.

State Seeking Maximum Sentence

Sentencing has been scheduled for June 13th at which time the State will be asking for a five-year prison sentence, the maximum allowable under the law, as well as for restitution for the cost of the cat’s necropsy. Authorities will also be asking that he is never allowed to own or live with another animal ever again.

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They are cute, interesting, and some are even the stuff of fairytales. But if you're thinking about taking one of these animals for a pet, think again. It's illegal in New Jersey.

Gallery Credit: Heather DeLuca

NJ teachers and educators caught in sex crime busts

Over the past several years, state lawmakers have dealt with accused child predators among ranks of teachers and educators.

The following individuals were arrested and charged in 2021 and several years earlier. Some were convicted and sentenced to prison. Others have accepted plea deals for probation and some cases were still pending.

Gallery Credit: Erin Vogt

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